Report: talking while driving no safer than texting

We all know that driving while texting or talking on a cell phone is a risk that we really shouldn’t take, but many of us engaged in this activity from time to time. It seems like every time one turns around there is a new study reminding us of the risks involved. Maybe some of us justify talking on a cell phone while driving because, after all, we at least avoid texting.

According to a new report by the National Safety Council, though, talking on a cellphone while driving may actually not be safer than texting while driving. Looking at data from 2013, the report found that cellphone use contributed to 26 percent of car accidents nationwide. Of those crashes, only 5 percent were blamed on texting while driving. Most of the accidents were caused by drivers who were in conversation on a handheld or hands-free device.

The research confirms earlier studies, one of which goes back to 2009, which showed that talking while driving was not much better, if at all, than texting. Still, though, texting while driving has been a major target of safety campaigns, with even private companies joining in on the message that drivers should wait until later.

Most states have implemented laws dealing with cell phone using, and many of these laws completely ban texting while putting limits on talking. The state of Florida has implemented a ban on texting for drivers, but does not prohibit drivers from talking on a cell-phone.

Those who choose to take the risk of using a cell phone while driving and end up causing an accident as a result should be held accountable for the damages they cause to other drivers. Those who have been involved in such an accident should consult an experienced attorney to determine their options for recovery.

Source: USA Today, “Cellphone use causes over 1 in 4 car accidents,” Gabrielle Kratsas, March 28, 2014.